Although cocaine abuse and addiction has been declining for some time, it is still a drug of choice for thousands in Colorado. Cocaine is a stimulant that can be snorted through the nose, rubbed on the gums, injected, or smoked. It is sometimes mixed or combined with other drugs or alcohol, which can intensify or change its effects.
How the Body Reacts to Cocaine
Using cocaine produces a strong, quick high that can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours depending on how it is used and whether it is combined with other substances. The feelings of euphoria are from dopamine receptors being overloaded, giving an intense effect.
Engaging in strenuous activity while using cocaine can lead to rapid spikes in body temperature that can cause fainting, blood clots, or a stroke. Cocaine use also reduces blood flow to the digestive system and can cause intestinal blockages with repeated use. Long-term use of cocaine also causes faster degeneration of the gray matter in the brain and damage to blood vessels, both of which may not manifest themselves until it is too late to repair the damage.
Cocaine seems to make users lose weight or become unnaturally thin, but this effect is not a healthy one and can result in illnesses or diseases from being too thin, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. It is unclear whether most cocaine users gain weight back after they stop using the drug or whether the thinness persists even after use stops.
Snorting the drug can lead to frequent nosebleeds, loss of smell, constantly runny nose, and trouble swallowing. Smoking it can lead to lung disorders, bleeding in the lungs, and respiratory problems like shortness of breath.
It is possible to overdose on cocaine by itself or in combination with other drugs or alcohol, and there is no drug that can counteract or stop the effects of a cocaine overdose. The risk of overdose increases when cocaine is mixed with heroin or alcohol.
How Cocaine Impacts the Brain
Most people who take cocaine feel unusually happy and energetic along with experiencing increased mental alertness. Some behave violently, experience paranoia, and have auditory hallucinations. They may also experience hypersensitivity to light or touch, or be more than usually irritable.
Cocaine use can lead to risky behavior like unprotected sex or abuse of other substances because it lowers inhibitions that would otherwise stop people from engaging in these behaviors. Cocaine users have higher rates of HIV and Hepatitis C because of these risky behaviors.
When You Stop Using Cocaine
Some symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include nausea, intensely craving the drug, sleep disturbances, agitation, and lack of energy. The absence of the drug can also make users feel depressed or anxious because the dopamine receptors are burned out and no longer function the way they once did.
The physical addiction to cocaine is one of the most difficult to overcome and often leads to relapse if not done within a treatment program with supervision by treatment professionals. The trained staff of Recovery Village at Palmer Lake wants to help you or a loved one break the grip of cocaine by providing treatment for the addiction. Contact us today!